What’s in my belly button? Analyzing my own lyrics

This is a song I wrote around 8 years ago.  I used to have it up on the web somewhere but now I can’t find it.  But let’s talk about lyrics.  Here it is:

Roller Coaster gonna make you scream

And then the

Sun will sting you like a killer bee

Hold on, tight to me

It’s a dream

This year I’m gonna make you mine

Because you seem so perfect in the summertime

Til it’s time to let you go, but you know

Out here anything could go wrong

Maybe we were just too high to hold on

I know I had to let you go

But I didn’t think it’d be like this

Baby I just want, one more kiss

Rollercoaster screaming down the tracks

And once it’s gone

you can’t take it back

It all seemed to happen so fast

Gonna hold you up to the sun

Til you’re

Til you’re sticky like bubble gum

Til it’s time to let you go, but you know

The middle part is the chorus.  It’s played with a fairly standard 50’s pop chord structure.  My mom said it sounded like Ricki Nelson.  But again, let’s talk about lyrics.

I wrote this thinking about Belmont Park in San Diego and about a girl who got thrown from a ride at the fair when I was in high school and died.  I wanted the lyrics to be as California and as pop-standardy as I could make them.  I was also missing my wife when I wrote this.

Roller Coaster gonna make you scream

And then the

So far, pretty typical.  The next line is kind of dumb

Sun will sting you like a killer bee

I was trying to convey how bright the sun feels in San Diego after having lived in humid Japan for several years.  But killer bee was a lame comparison.

These next lines caused confusion, some people thought I was trying to say the whole song is a dream.

Hold on, tight to me

It’s a dream

It’s not supposed to be.  It’s supposed to be more or less a straight up story of meeting a girl, falling in love and then having her get thrown to her death off a rollercoaster.  Sweet stuff.  I’m laying it out here:

This year I’m gonna make you mine

Because you seem so perfect in the summertime

Til it’s time to let you go, but you know

Then it goes to the chorus.  What sounds like a sweet song is suddenly tragic.

Out here anything could go wrong

And it does.  I used the word high on purpose.  People can think it’s because we were high on drugs or just at a high point in the rollercoaster.  Whatever people want to think.

Maybe we were just too high to hold on

And then the sadness.  The second half of the chorus is pretty cliche.  I mean the words when I sing them, but yeah.

I know I had to let you go

This is kind of a pun

But I didn’t think it would be like this

Get it?

Baby I just want, one more kiss

Yeah, those aren’t my favorite.

Then we have the second (and last) verse.  I consider two verses the bare minimum for an actual song, and so I normally write two verses.

This again starts with pretty standard scene setting:

Rollercoaster screaming down the tracks

I don’t know what I was trying to say with this line:

And once it’s gone you can’t take it back

What is gone?  Take what back?  Hell if I know.  I must have just been trying to rhyme.  The problem with writing songs is that it’s so much easier to be catchy if you rhyme, so I try to rhyme.  But sometimes you end up with dubious lines.  The next line is pretty conventional.

It all seemed to happen so fast

The next two lines are the last two that don’t repeat.  They don’t really make sense, but sometimes I don’t beat myself up if I feel like lines convey an atmosphere I want to convey.

gonna hold you up to the sun

Til you’re

Til you’re sticky like bubble gum

This isn’t my most serious song, but it does paint a picture in a way that I’m fairly proud of.  It was also one of the first that I wrote that does something I like to go back to a lot- sounding happy on the surface, but conveying some hidden tragedy.  I feel like all great bubblegum pop should have either a tragic edge or a dangerous edge wrapped in sunshiney lyrics.

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